One day you will be old, bedridden,
toward the end of dying, in the throes of your dementia.
Your grandchild will be holding your hand
there at your bedside.
It will be just the two of you in the hospice room,
the lamp open at your bedside with the light spilling on your thin flesh
and your thin gown.
You will look into his eyes
and you will ask him where I am.
Your husband gone and your brother, sister also gone;
you will ask your grandchild where I am
and he won’t recognize the name
of me, another one who is also gone like they are gone
although you couldn’t know that.
You will ask him where I am and not understand why
I am not beside you, kissing away your dolor
as we both wait in the hospice room
for the final release.
You have forgotten and you will let go of his hand,
thinking it is I who abandoned you
and then you will pass away
with that dementia-inspired lie tucked away in that wrinkle of your brain
between your sadness and your shame.
John Tustin's poetry has appeared in many literary journals since 2009. fritzware.com/johntustinpoetry contains links to his published poetry online.